27: Use your memories
When it comes to writing, nothing is more important than my memories. The time I got on the wrong train in France, the time I stood up in pre-school and announced that I was going to have a new baby sister (much to the surprise of my parents), the experience of that first crush and the crushing blow when I found out my cat had died.
Our lives are made up of endless moments and experiences and all of these provide seeds of inspiration that can lead to the most incredible stories, the most riveting scenes and a never-ending cast of vibrant characters.
Learning to tap into your memories takes practice and my suggestion to you is to set aside five to ten minutes each day. Just you, a cup of something and a piece of paper and pen. Don’t think, don’t edit, just let the memories come and write down whatever you remember.
Over the years I’ve filled up dozens of notebooks and every single one of my series ideas, scripts and storylines have started with this simple and ongoing exercise. I never have to sit in front of a blank screen and wait till a story pops into my head. I never feel panicked when I have to come up with 20 or 30 story pitches in a week. It’s all there in the pages of my life, ready to be transformed and developed into anything and everything I’ll ever need.
My biggest problem is that I’ll never have enough time to make use of them all, and for a working writer, that’s a pretty good problem to have!